Print Shop

LOCATION: Main Street

Throughout the history of the United States, newspapers played an important role in shaping public perceptions and unifying or dividing a community. In 1839, Don Carlos Smith and others established a newspaper called the Times and Seasons.  In 1842, Church leaders assumed ownership of the paper and assigned John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff as editors. As the official voice of the Church, the paper shared news, expounded on doctrine, printed excerpts of Joseph’s letters, and published his translation of the Book of Abraham.

Experience the Print Shop from your computer or smart phone in three different ways: with our Virtual Tour,  Image Gallery, or schedule a  Live Video Tour. Click on the links below to see more.

Virtual 360° Tour

Take a look inside the Print Shop right from your computer or smart phone by checking out our 360° Photos.

Image Gallery

Peek inside the Print Shop as you scroll through our image gallery.

Print Shop
John Taylor purchased these three buildings as one property in 1845 partly because the printing office needed a larger space. In addition to the biweekly Times and Seasons, the office produced the weekly Nauvoo Neighbor community paper, the second edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, and more.
Space to Work
Conditions in this print shop were far superior to the damp cellar where Don Carlos began printing the Times and Seasons as a “source of light and instruction” for the Saints. He was an experienced printer, but the poor working conditions impaired his health and he died in 1841.
Publishing Tools
The press and type used in Nauvoo had also been used to print the Elders’ Journal in Far West, Missouri, until 1838. It was buried to keep it safe from militias when the Saints fled that state. In June 1839, it was recovered and brought to Nauvoo.
P’s and Q’s
A typesetter usually sat near a window to allow easier selection of tiny letters and characters from the type case. Each letter was arranged backward into a composing stick representing a line of text before being transferred to a galley and then an imposing stone for printing.
Demonstration Table
As these replica items illustrate, printing was a laborious process, from typesetting to preparing the paper, inking the press, printing front and back, and drying the paper. All work was done by hand, one page at a time.
Hand-Operated Press
This period press is similar to the one operated in Nauvoo. After John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff were assigned to edit the Times and Seasons and produce other Church publications, Elias Smith was hired in 1843 to manage the printing office, which was still located in another building.
Final Days
The last edition of the Times and Seasons was printed in February 1846. It included general news of the Church, as usual, but concluded with a hymn written by W.W. Phelps to celebrate the completion of the Nauvoo Temple.
Printing Office
John Taylor shut down the printing office as the Saints left Nauvoo, necessarily leaving all of the equipment behind. Yet in 1850, the Church began publishing the Deseret News in Utah, followed by other newspapers in the Eastern United States, Europe, and the Pacific to keep the growing global Church connected.
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